Sam Allison

My artwork is based in geometric design. I start out with the compass and straightedge – the same tools used by Euclid and Pythagoras – to form a grid of interlocking circles. Staring at this field of potential on the page, at some point I catch a glimmer of the forms that want to emerge. The characters I draw are the numbers in their manifestations as shapes, tessellations, spirals and fractals.

Geometry means to measure the world. For the ancient geometers, mapping the cosmos and surveying the inner terrain of the psyche was a single endeavor. By following in their footsteps, we can rediscover a stepwise approach to life’s imponderables. Looking into our mind’s eye, suspending our language and logic, we can visually translate our sense of wonder into the realm of numbers. The drawings that I make in this process are both geometric puzzles and metaphysical musings.

While many of my compositions get lost in complexity, the few successful ones retain simplicity, elegance and efficiency – the hallmarks of Nature herself. They evoke the hidden blueprint behind what we see of the world.

 After studying the tradition of geometry for over a decade, I’ve recently begun teaching a condensed primer on the art and philosophy of this ancient knowledge. It’s exciting to watch students come up with brilliant designs and ideas about how the world is put together. Becoming skilled in hand-drawn geometry enhances not only our art practice, but also the artfulness we bring to everyday life.